I believe that this year at N.C. State was one of the most interesting and controversial school terms in a long time. When I look back over all of the events that have happened, I can not seem to pick that one moment which stood out the most. When I first came to this University I did not expect to encounter anything remotely intriguing. I am glad to say that I was wrong.

One incident that will stick out in the minds of many students is the situation involving the Free Expression Tunnel. This act of hate touched everyone of every race. Before this happened, I had not been a witness to public racial slurs and I did not really think I ever would. When I saw those messages across the Free Expression Tunnel it felt as if a piece of my heart had been chipped away. I know it sounds melodramatic, but I never thought someone on this campus would do something like that. With all of the diversity programs and community building we do at this University, I was saddened to see how it all fell short.

After the tunnel issue, I began to subconsciously wonder who my real friends were. When I sat next to someone in class or waved at a complete stranger I wondered if they hated me for the color of my skin. Internally, I began to question the friends I had since freshman year. I debated whether they were really my friends or if they we hanging with me out of habit. It was wrong of me to question those who I knew for years and those I had known in passing, but I could not help it. Before this incident, I never knew what it was like to feel targeted and ostracized.

After in-depth conversations with friends, I concluded that one should not base opinions on the ignorance of a few. I discovered that everyone felt hurt, not just black students, and this knowledge helped to restore my mind to its rightful place, open.

This school year cannot be talked about without the budget cuts. Even thought it did not affect us that much this year, next year a ton of classes we love will be gone. It is not fair to us, and it is most certainly not fair to the upcoming freshman class. Hopefully our education system will work something out. I know this is a research/science based university, but the humanities and social sciences are just as important. I feel as if the abstract thinkers at this institution are slighted the most by these budget cuts.

On a more positive note, I enjoyed all of the programs this year. The Back to School Jam, as well as Friday Fest, were equally enjoyable. Seeing Boyz II Men in concert basically made my year from the beginning! The special presentations put on by Multicultural Student Affairs were very informative and entertaining. My favorite cultural event would have to be the UAB’s BSB Pan Afrikan week. During this week many African and African-American programs were showcased to show history as well as talent. I was very impressed with the unity on campus. I was able to learn as well as have fun. I was proud of North Carolina State University for embracing diversity and not being scared of something a little different.

Lastly the major event that changed everyone�s lives forever was Barack Obama being elected to the presidency. This was the first time in history that a non-white individual was made president. The night of the election was unforgettable; people were happy and out in the streets celebrating equality and how far we had come as a country. This night was a time of love and change, which is something many of us had never experienced. I believe the election brought about feelings of hope and prosperity across campus, as well as, the world. We finally had someone in office that was not afraid of change and was willing to put in the work to get there. His presidency is a beacon of hope for minorities, the disabled, women, the GLBT community, the poor and anyone else who has ever been discriminated against.

The 2008-2009 school year has been quite a whirlwind. We have had our up and downs, but as usual, the good outshined the bad. We have grown and changed with each other this year. The African-American community was challenged and proved to be victorious over any threats. This year has been successful, and with the right ideals, so will the next.